A Connecticut history collector and a Dallas auction house have withdrawn two macabre pieces of American history from auction – blood-stained pieces of leather from the inside of the limo that President John F. Kennedy was riding in the day he was assassinated.
The collector, John Reznikoff, said he bought a small swatch of the leather at an auction years ago.
"This piece actually has John F. Kennedy's DNA on it," he said.
He divided it into about a dozen smaller pieces of less than one inch by one inch.
Most of the pieces were sold to "prominent collections" but he is now auctioning one more.
Another piece that he sold to an unnamed buyer earlier has been put up for bid by Dallas-based Heritage Auctions.
Reznikoff is founder and president of University Archives in Westport, Connecticut.
"I'm a history buff but I'm also a dealer," Reznikoff said. "When anybody asks what I do, it's very simple. I say, 'I'm a treasure hunter.'"
He bought the next-to-last limo that President Kennedy was in before his assassination and sold it for nearly $400,000, he said.
At Dealey Plaza, the auction of the blood-stained leather doesn't sit well with some tourists.
"It's kind of sad someone is still trying to make a buck off it," said Keith Fowler of Ventura, California.
"Donate it to the Smithsonian or something like that," added his wife Sharon Fowler.
"It should likely be turned over to the government officials and be kept in their records," said Shawna McEwen, a tourist from Canada.
Reznikoff defends the sale as an important part of history.
"Any blood relic, by its nature, some people are a little squeamish about it," he said. "Unfortunately, part of our history isn't necessarily so rosy. There's a lot of violence in the history of America and every country for that matter."
He said the leather was first collected by a liaison between Ford Motor Company and the White House when the limo was disassembled.
"Of course nobody would want to ride in a limousine that had such a horrible thing occur and had blood stains but an astute person decided to preserve them and that's what we see today, is a little piece of the back seat from November 22, 1963," Reznikoff said. "It's representative of a very dark day in the history of our country."
On Friday, Heritage Auctions' website said: "This lot has been withdrawn from this auction. Bids are no longer accepted and previous bids are cancelled."